As part of increased screening of travelers from West Africa, Los Angeles County health officials are monitoring an unspecified number of people who recently arrived in the Southland from the region, but none of them are suspected of having the Ebola virus, the county’s top health officer said Friday
Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim head of the county Department of Public Health, said federal officials have stepped up efforts to track the movements of people who recently traveled to West Africa.
“What that means is that here in Los Angeles County we are being notified by the state of California — the Department of Public Health — about any traveler who’s arriving on a flight that has originated out of West Africa and we are actively monitoring those persons,” Gunzenhauser said.
He declined to say how many people the county is monitoring, saying only the county has “received some notifications and we’re following up on those individuals.”
He stressed, however, that none of them are suspected of having the Ebola virus.
“If any of them did (exhibit symptoms) we would get them in for care,” he said, insisting there are no suspected or confirmed cases of the virus in Los Angeles County.
Gunzenhauser noted that under federal requirements, passengers departing from the affected area are screened before they can board flights, and they are screened again when they arrive in the United States at one of five hub airports. The passengers are also tracked to their ultimate destinations if they take connecting flights, leading to the localized notifications to health officials.
Gunzenhauser said county health officials are working closely with area hospitals to ensure they are prepared if a case is detected in the area.
He said he has “high confidence in the ability of our county to respond in the even a case occurs here.”
“Each day we’re learning more information based on monitoring the situation in West Africa and the Unites States, and as a result of that we’re more prepared each day than we were yesterday,” he said.
—City News Service
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